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One-on-one with the Washington Commanders play-caller Scott Turner

Commanders offensive coordinator, Scott Turner, talks first preseason game impressions, Carson Wentz, and moving to the sidelines this season.

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Commanders offensive coordinator, Scott Turner, is entering his 11th season of coaching in the National Football League. This will be his third season as the Commanders offensive coordinator. 

Turner, the son of former Washington head coach, Norv Turner, likes what he sees from this year's squad in training camp.

"It's going good. Carson [Wentz] has been great. We have a lot of young players and just getting them working. I feel like we are getting better day by day and that's really what you strive to do," said Turner.

This is his first season working with the Commanders new starting quarterback, Carson Wentz. Washington acquired Wentz this offseason, and Turner is impressed by what he sees in their top QB thus far. 

"Carson is a physically, talented guy. You see his statue. He's big, and he's strong. He's able to push the ball down the field. He's tough to bring down when he gets pressure. He's also really smart and has a good feel for just football in general. Starting in the offseason, once he got here, he was really learning our offense, and every day that goes by you can see him taking more ownership of that," said Turner. 

Turner mentions Wentz's physical attributes as being impressive but adds, "he's a level-headed guy and it's all about the work. He doesn't get too up or down, doesn't overreact to whether we have a really good practice or maybe one that's not so good, and just understanding it's all part of that process of learning and growing."

The connection developing between Wentz and top wide receiver, Terry McLaurin is undeniable, but Wentz is also developing a solid connection with rookie receiver, Jahan Dotson. The Commanders selecting Dotson in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Penn State, and Turner says he's settling in nicely at camp. 

"He's been great. He's a natural route runner and has good hands. He's really hitting the ground running. He has a professional approach to everything we do and I'm excited for him. As a young player, he's just going to continue to get better and I'm excited to be here and see it," said Turner.

The offensive line is bringing back experience to counter some of the young talent sprinkled throughout this team. 

"They've been great. You know, Charles Leno who we brought in a year ago, he's got a great rapport with Coach Rivera and myself, and he does a nice job of getting that group going. Bringing in Andrew Norwell brings us that big, physical presence, and upfront, getting Chase [Roullier] back from his injury. He's getting back and getting going. Sam Cosmi is someone who we are really looking for big things from in his second year. We have to keep him healthy throughout the year, and you'll really see the physicality which he plays with. Those guys on the offensive line, they really communicate great, have a great rapport, and that's really important," says Turner.

While Turner mostly likes what he's been seeing during this training camp, there are still areas he'd like to see improvement. 

"[I'd like to see] consistency. We'll have really good moments where we are hitting on all cylinders, and then there are times when we don't make a play. Now, it's not always going to work out. You run 65-70 plays in the course of a game, and they're not always going to be good, but just to be consistent from a day-to-day basis and a play-to-play basis, that's what I'm looking for," said Turner.

Last Saturday the Commanders put their plays to the test in their first preseason game of 2022. Turner describes this team as being resilient after what he saw in the game. 

"We didn't start off great. We went three and out, we had a turnover but then we put a real nice drive together and put the ball in the end zone. Then we were losing at halftime but some of the backup guys came in, Sam [Howell] came in, and we fought back and took the lead. Obviously, we weren't able to get it done, but just the resiliency and the way guys stuck together on the sideline, that was good to see," Turner explained. 

He adds that while specific performances in their preseason game didn't necessarily stand out to him, he did take notice of a few big playmakers. 

"Brian Robinson ran the ball hard and people have talked about that. Carson [Wentz] impressed me just by how efficient he was, and how he was able to complete 10 of 13 passes, and the way he ran the offense was great. Then, Sam Howell didn't surprise me, but it was good to see a guy coming in for the first time in the NFL when you're actually going to get hit and make some plays," said Turner.

Turner has spent the past two seasons calling plays in games from the coaches booth. But this season, he has made the decision to return to the sidelines. He'll be calling the team's plays in what he feels is a better position. 

"I think being down on the field, the pluses outweigh the minuses. Just being able to be down there and communicate with Carson [Wentz] is number one, and some of the other guys. There might be something that I want to say to one of the other players and I can now just say it to them directly instead of trying to say it through someone else. You can better feel the flow of the game by just being down on the field," he said.

The Commanders officially open the regular NFL season on Sunday, September 11, and Turner is already excited for a new season. 

"We put a lot of work into this, and I love what I do. It's a great experience to coach in this league. I'm excited, and I'm excited for the guys more than anything because you want to see them go be successful and make plays," said Turner.

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